Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Parfrey's Glen in Devil's Lake State Park

Wisconsin's Devil's Lake State Park is a couple of hours from our home. We left home Tuesday morning under sunny skies with a light breeze and temperatures in the high 50s. The trees aren't changing much in the park yet.

Our first stop was the South Shore picnic area of Devil's Lake. We had overcast skies, wind (not a light breeze), and the temperatures were in the high 50s. It was COLD!

Plans for hiking and shooting photographs were quickly put on hold - it was too windy to shoot and a little too cold to hike since we were not prepared for cold weather.

We drove around the lake. When we got to the North Shore, we were more sheltered from the wind and the day was much more tolerable. 

We headed to Parfrey's Glen, one of four Wisconsin State Natural Areas within Devil's Lake State Park. The long, narrow, rocky ravine/canyon was more protected. We had a beautiful hike which wasn't the easiest but it was fun.

It started as a nice flat trail

along side a stream.

Ray took pictures...

The trail became very rocky

and many times, we had to ford the stream or walk in it. 

Looking back, the trees were just starting to turn.

As we went deeper into the canyon, it narrowed.

The rocks were getting huge! Can you see the people? Yes, we climbed up and around those huge boulders.

 And there were more...

until all of a sudden, there was a waterfall! This was a wonderful place to stop for a snack. I enjoyed sitting there for a few minutes.

Then we headed back down and out of the canyon

Ray rock-hopped out to this small island to take a photo.

The trip back had some challenges - I can climb up on my belly to get from one rock to another but I couldn't get down that way. The rocks weren't always close to each other so you had to go down facing outward. Thank goodness, Ray stayed close! At one point I had to step down and out to a rock - about a 24" drop. I'm a short person and I have short legs. I still can't believe I made that without a fall! 

Many of the rocks that we were using to cross deeper water were sandy and/or wet so it was easy to slip. Luckily, we made it out of the canyon without incident. We were both tired last night and today I am stiff and sore but that's improving as the day goes along.

It was so nice to do a more normal hike and it was great to be outside on a brisk fall day.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Prism Quilt is Finished!

I was working on this quilt at a retreat in July. It is paper pieced and I did not have enough paper pattern pieces to complete  it at the retreat. 

The pattern is Prism. I bought the pattern last year - I think in Montana.

The quilt is a little over 62" square. I used an even number of columns while the pattern used an odd number. The quilt has already been washed so it is "puckery". I love puckered quilts.

I used Dream Cotton for the batting and Aurifil thread. All of the fabric came from my stash.

I quilted the white parts with a walking foot. The rest is free motion quilted - the navy parts have large circles and the colored 4-part diamonds have pebbles.

I used orange thread in the bobbin for the entire quilt. Depending on the area, the top is quilted in white, navy, or orange.

The back is orange with a lighter orange dot.

I really like this quilt. I don't need a quilt but I'm not sure I want this one to leave. So for now, this one stays here but may still be donated. I'll see...

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stash Busting

I have to do some stash busting! I mean I am out of room to store fabric! I thought about this and decided to clear out the flannels. Ha! This is going to take a while! I did begin ...

My stash of flannels includes one piece of yellow that is large and has never been cut. Otherwise, every piece has been used for something and I have the leftovers. 

First I took ALL of the dark colors except 2 Christmas prints  and used my Baby GO which I hardly ever use to cut 4 1/2" half square triangles.  Then I cut up the only light piece I had. I also bought another 4 yards of light and cut it up. I have a peck of cut up fabric!

I have sewn a few squares and will get these eventually done as leaders and enders. I know I have plenty for two quilts and maybe more. My inspiration for this quilt is my friend Lesley's quilt, Hugs, at The Cuddle Quilter. I just had to put a few pieces on the design wall and make sure I'd like it.

There was still a lot of flannel left in the flannel drawers so I decided to cut some of the children's flannels into squares. I found the dinosaur fabric was already cut into border pieces. This isn't a favorite quilt but it will work for some child when it is finished. It will be very snuggly.

I had a few blue/green and green elephants and a little green and some blue/green. Again not a favorite quilt but it will be snuggly. Can you see that I didn't have quite enough blue/green for the top and bottom stripes? I think this is the way our grandmothers used to make quilts!

I had just a little of the cute animals so I put this together.

Then I was in trouble because none of the other flannels went with it. I finally decided to use cottons. I will put a flannel back on it. This was going to be the finished quilt but I decided that it didn't look finished.

I had just enough red with one seam to put a piece on both ends.

I  think that's enough stash busting of flannels for this week! I think I used up 15 - 20 yards. Of course I bought 4 yards. Now I have a pile of quilts needing backing and quilting.  AND I have a little room in my fabric storage!


Monday, September 19, 2016

50 Years is a Long Time

Ray and I went to school together beginning in 7th grade. We graduated from Belvidere High School in 1966. That was 50 years ago! This past weekend, we went back to Belvidere, Illinois, and celebrated with many of our classmates; we hadn't seen some of them since our graduation day. We've had just 3 or 4 reunions over the years.. The weekend was great fun!

Somehow the men just gathered and had their picture taken.

It took the women forever and even then many of us were still visiting.

Thank goodness this was a weekend affair - I still didn't feel I had enough time to visit with everyone. There is never enough time!

Since we were 'home', we spent a little time Saturday morning in the park. It was nice when we lived there but now it is a gorgeous place. Ray spent some time taking photos - are you surprised?!! I took pictures too.



Here is a selfie we took at the motel Friday night.

We might have changed a bit in the last 50 years. Here are our name tags with our senior pictures. 


Many of our classmates have faced challenges and health issues over the years. I guess we have too. We all felt very blessed to have been able to spend the weekend together and look forward to gathering again in a few years.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Donation Quilt Done

Another donation quilt is finished and I'm still practicing free motion quilting. I don't think it is possible to practice too much. I still don't feel as competent as I did in May but it will come.

I thought a boy might like this quilt with the small squares of baseball fabric in it. 
  
My quilting still leaves a lot to be desired - I was trying to do a stipple with a swirl. Sometimes it worked; may times it didn't.
  
The back is small red squares on white.

This quilt is about 62" by 70". I used Dream Cotton batting and Aurifil thread.


Many of my donation quilts go to a children's hospital or a child abuse center but I try to always have a few on hand in case there is a catastrophe somewhere. Usually I have no idea who the recipients are. The weather is getting cooler and in a few days, I will be giving quilts to 5 children who lost their home to a fire last spring here in my village. I think I have 15 quilts and they will each be able to choose one. I really hope I have at least one quilt that each child will love.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Fall? and a Little Backtracking...

We took a little tour a couple of days ago. We wanted to visit  some of the small towns 'near' us so we traveled north and west.

Shortly after leaving home, we saw a flock of geese heading south! It does seem early, doesn't it?
Taken out of side window of moving car
 We saw this Amish fellow. It was a gorgeous fall-like day.

One stop was at an Amish produce stand. The pumpkins are already ready!

The corn stalks are drying out at the bottom; the soybeans are changing color; some of the leaves on the trees are changing. Can you see the red in the bushes?
Taken out of side window of moving car
We still have a few weeks of summer but it feels like fall and I'm loving our weather. The weatherman says summer is returning midweek however - the 80s and 90s are coming back.

=====

I finished quilting another quilt. I had a lot of trouble with the last quarter which was disappointing because I thought I was getting back in the groove of free motion quilting. I sewed the binding on and then I went to hand stitch the binding down on the back and ugh! Can you see the tension issues?

The bad news is that I had to tear out 1/4 of the quilting and need to redo it. It was easy to remove! The good news is that I knew the machine didn't feel right when I was quilting. Of course I thought it was me. Next time I'll do what I should have done - stop and look at the back of the quilt. Maybe I really am getting back in the groove...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A quilt finish

I have a finish!  I saw a picture once of a quilt that looked something like this. However, I'm relying on my memory so maybe it didn't look like this at all!

This is the quilt that I've been practicing spirals on. All of the fabric is from my stash; most pieces are from my scrap drawers.

The outer (green) border is quilted in Paisley and the inner (blue) border is just a squiggly line with loops. 

The backing is a dark beige with flecks of green, red, and blue. It looks really dark here. Photos were inside on this rainy day.

This quilt is about 54" square and will be donated.

I am quilting another quilt - I have to get in my 15 minutes of practice a day. I think my skill which was never great is slowly returning.

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